While many see winter as a chance to layer up our looks and get a little lax on shaving, the snowy season is actually the best time to prep your body for spring break and summer events! When it comes to permanent hair removal, at-home IPL and laser devices are the two favorites, but these treatments can take approximately three months to provide desired results. That means the key to a stubble-free summer is to get a head start on hair removal by beginning in the winter, but with so many options, which device will make your transition the simplest?
What’s the difference between IPL & Laser Hair Removal, and which is right for me?
Both IPL treatments and laser hair removal have proven to be effective methods of permanently reducing hair from head to toe. However, each form of hair removal goes about reducing hair in a different way. Laser hair removal devices utilize one color and wavelength of pure, highly concentrated light. IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments combine a broad spectrum of light with special filters to ensure only the most effective frequencies of light are delivered to the target area.
If each form of hair removal is effective, then, why does it matter which one you use? While both types have the potential to offer great results, their levels of efficacy can vary depending on your skin type, hair color and the area of treatment. Neither laser nor IPL at-home devices are effective on those with darker skin tones in the Type V or VI range of the Fitzpatrick scale. This is due to the amount of melanin in the skin. These devices work by targeting the melanin in hair, heating up the follicle and damaging it to the point where it will no longer grow. Skin types in this range can absorb the light emitted by laser hair removal or IPL devices, nullifying the effects of the device or possibly damaging the skin. Fortunately for those with skin of color, newer techniques are being developed that can provide good results as well. It’s best to speak with an experienced cosmetic surgeon to discuss which option is best for you.
These forms of hair removal are also not recommended for grey, blonde and white hair colors. Both methods work best on individuals with dark hair and lighter skin, as this allows the light or laser to hone in on the pigment of hair follicles, heating them and effectively disrupting the growth cycle. That said, laser hair removal is not suggested for blonde or light red hair due to the lack of pigment. On the other hand, IPL can be used on those with dark blonde or dark red hair, but again, the lack of pigment makes it less effective than compared to treatments on darker hair.
The time you’re willing to invest in hair removal and the area you’d like to address should also be taken into consideration. With laser hair removal, fewer total treatments are typically needed to achieve that much sought-after smooth surface, but since their treatment window is smaller than that of an IPL device, addressing larger areas can take more time. IPL covers more ground per flash, but follow-up sessions may be necessary to remove all hair. If you’re willing to invest more time into your treatments as long as it means unwanted hair is gone for good, a laser hair removal device may be more suited to your needs, whereas an IPL device could be better for those who are treating large areas and are willing to commit to follow-up treatments.
The Best At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices
Powered by a clinically proven diode laser with three times more hair eliminating energy than any other at-home hair removal device, the Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X reduces up to 70% of hair after two treatments in as little as three months. The only FDA-cleared, at-home laser hair removal device, it is suitable for use on both the face and body, making it ideal for both small areas, like sideburns and underarms, or larger areas, like the legs. Due to the targeted nature of the laser, energy is delivered directly to the root of the hair follicle, for maximum accuracy and efficacy.
Ideal for delicate, sensitive areas where precision is key, this lightweight laser device combines maneuverability with the same diode laser technology, so it doesn’t sacrifice results. This slim solution to unwanted hair is designed for short treatments of fifteen minutes or less, which means it performs best on the upper lip, chin, bikini line and other small areas.
The Best At-Home IPL Devices
FDA-cleared for face and body alike, this professional-grade IPL device provides the largest available window size and a staggering 32 joules of energy (the most of any at-home IPL device), making it ideal for more intensive treatments that cover larger areas. Using this powerful of an at-home device for the first time can be intimidating. Fortunately, it also offers five settings, allowing you to customize your sessions according to your comfort level and the area you are treating. Its corded design never requires charging, which means treatments are fast and easy to fit into any schedule!
Designed specifically for sensitive areas of the face and body, the LumaRx Mini IPL Skin Beauty System offers three energy levels to ensure maximum comfort. On the topic of comfort, LumaRx devices feature ComfortFilter technology that blocks out harmful UV and infrared rays to protect skin during treatments. Use this handheld device on female facial hair, underarms or the bikini line to see up to 94% hair reduction after only three treatments (results may vary from individual to individual).
Now, you’re familiar with the best hair removal devices, but what about the hair you want to keep? Discover our favorite ways to protect hair from heat damage on our blog!